THE NEXT 1-2-3

1-2-3

by Beth Ann Morgan

One of the most helpful things I’ve learned as an adult is how to switch to The Next 1-2-3 thinking when I catch myself starting to feel overwhelmed. The sheer emotion of crisis threatens to consume sanity like a lion devours its prey, so I’ve learned to lean heavily on a God-sent tool that helped structure my mind.

It was subconscious at first. An Early Intervention therapist named Lisa had taught me how to structure my daughter’s daily activity by using a simple 1-2-3 method. Our family had found it effective and incorporated it into our daily life.

Little did the therapist (and I) know how critical THE NEXT 1-2-3 would become to my own survival.

Here’s how it works:

  • I ask myself, “What are the next three things I’m going to do?”
  • I formulate my plan: 1) Unlock the door. 2) Turn on the light. 3) Turn on the oven.
  • I carry out the three tasks in order.

Done. Then I would plan my next three steps: 1) Put my keys on the hook. 2) Hang up my coat. 3) Set my purse in the closet.

Sometimes it was change a diaper, wash my hands, and head downstairs. When things were incredibly tough, I completed only one task at a time.

It was all I could handle.

Minute-by-minute, task-by-task, somehow it all got done, or at least what needed to get done did. Even though I stayed busy and productive, I had minimized the decision-making process and given myself a mental mini-break by using the NEXT 1-2-3.

Sound crazy? Try it next time you’re in the middle of a substantial mess struggling to keep breathing, dragging yourself around on less than two hours of sleep.

Every bit of energy counts.

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